1 KEEP silence before Me, O islands; and let the peoples renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.
VERSE 1. [“Silence” is predicated of the church and of the individual when Judgment approaches. “When
the interiors of the evil are opened, astonishment is occasioned, to which “silence” corresponds; thus when “the seventh seal was opened, (Apoc. viii. 1.) there was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour,” which signified the astonishment of the angels at the evil states of the church, when the interiors were opened, as signified by “the opening of the seals.” “Silence” also corresponds to any strong emotion
of the mind, by whatever cause excited. See A. E. 487; A. R. 389.]
2 Who hath raised up [One in] justice from the East, hath called Him to His foot? hath subdued nations before His face, and given Him dominion over kings? hath made them like the dust to His sword, and like the driven stubble to His bow?
Verse 2. These things are said concerning the Lord, and concerning His dominion over evils and falses. By “the unions which He subdued before Him,” are signified evils; and by “the kings over whom He gave Him dominion,’ are signified falses. That both the former and the latter are dissipated as nothing ihy His Divine Truth, and by doctrine thence derived, is signified by “He gave them as dust to His sword, and as driven stubble to His bow;” His “sword” denoting Divine Truth, and His “bow” doctrine. That evils and falses are dispersed as nothing, is signified by “as the dust, and as driven stubble.” It is said that” evils and falses are so dispersed,” and thereby are understood those who are in evils, and thence in falses, in the other life. A. E. 357.
These words relate to the Lord, who is said to be ” raised up from the East,” because He was conceived of the Divine Itself, which in its essence is Divine Love, from which also the Lord is the Sun of the angelic heaven. To “call in justice” signifies to restore heaven and the church; for the “justice” of the Lord signifies, in the Word, that from His own power He saved the human race, which was effected by reducing all things in the heavens and the hells into order. A. E. 422.
That the subjugation of the hells and the arrangement of the heavens by the Lord, likewise the glorification of His Humanity, and hence the salvation of those who receive the Lord in faith and love, is “Justice” and “Merit,” which belong to the Lord alone, may be confirmed from many passages in the Word. But they who do not know that spirits from the hells are with man, and that thence be has evils and falses; and also that angels from heaven are with him, whence he has Goods and Truths, and that thus the life of man on the one hand is joined to the hells, and on the other to the heavens, that is, by the heavens to the Lord: and, further, they who do not know that man can by no means be saved, except the hells are subjugated and the heavens reduced to order, and thus all things made subject to the Lord, cannot understand this. From this it is evident that the Good of the Lord’s Merit is the only Good which reigns in heaven; for the Good of the Lord’s Merit is also now the continual subjugation of the hells, and thus the safety or salvation of the faithful. That Good is the Good of the Lord’s Love, for from Divine Love, whilst He was in the world, He fought and overcame. From divine power in the Human, hence acquired, He alone to eternity
fights and conquers for heaven and the church, thus for the universal human race, and thus saves them. This now is the Good of Merit which is called “Justice,” because it is of Justice to subdue the efforts of the hells to destroy the human race, and thus to guard and to save the good and the faithful. A. C. 9715.
3 He pursued them; He passed in peace; by a way He had not gone with His feet.
4 Who hath performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I Jehovah, the first; and with the last, I am He.
Verses 3, 4. It should be known that one thing in the Word, especlally in the Prophets, is described by a twofold expression, as in Isaiah:-“He passed in peace,” &c.; “Who hath performed and done It? &c., where one expression relates to Good and the other to Truth or one to the things of the will, and the other to the things of the understanding; thus to “pass In peace” involves the things which are of the will: “the way He had not gone with His feet,” the things of the understanding; in like manner” to perform and to do.” Thus the things which are of the will and of the understanding, are in the Word conjoined, consequently the things which are of love and of truth or which is the same, celestial and spiritual things, that in every particular of the Word there may be something like a marriage, and may thus relate to the heavenly marriage [of the Good and the True] A. C. 683.
5 The islands saw, and were afraid; the ends of the earth trembled: they drew near; and they came.
6 Everyone helped his neighbour; and said to his brother, Be strong.
Verse 5. Speaking of the advent of the Lord. By “the islands and the ends of the earth” are understood the nations which are remote from the Truths of the church; and by “their fear and trembling” are signified commotions of mind, arising from the dread of perishing [at the period of Judgment] A.E. 677.
Verses 5, 18. The islands saw, and were afraid, &c. I will make the desert a pool of waters, and the dry ground springs of waters.-The establishment of the church amongst the Gentiles is thus described they being signified by the “islands” and the “ends of the earth,” for these expressions in the Word signify those who are further distant from the Truths and Goods of the church, inasmuch as they have not the Word; and consequently are in ignorance. That the church shall be established among them, is signified by “I will make the desert a pool of waters, and the dry ground springs of waters;” it is called a “desert where there is not yet Good, because there is not yet Truth, from which it is also called the “dry land;” a “pool of waters” and “springs of waters” signify Good, because Truth; for all spiritual Good, which is the Good of the church, is procured by Truths. A. E. 304.
Verse 6. Everyone helped his neighbour, &e.-As to “neighbour” and “brother,” see Chap. xix. 2, Exposition.
7And the carpenter encouraged the founder; he that smootheth with the hammer, him that smote the anvil, saying of the soldering, It is good: and he fixeth it with nails, that it may not be moved.
Verse 7. Here “the carpenter encouraged [or strengthened] the founder” is predicated of what is evil; “he that smootheth,” &c., of the false. That what is “smooth” is predicated, in a good sense, of what is True, and, in the opposite sense, of what is false, may be proved from the following passages: “Inflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree; among the smooth [things] of the valley is thy portion;” (Isa. lvii. 5, 6.) where to be ” inflamed “is said of evil, and “the smooth things of the valley” of what is false. Again-“Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongue they speak smooth things.” (Psalm v. 9.) A. C. 3527.
Saying of the soldering, It is good.-[The “soldering” (junctura) denotes, by correspondence, a conjoining medium, by which falses are made to cohere together as though they were Truths. This “soldering” or this conjoining medium is, especially, fallacious reasoning, either from the letter of the Word not understood, or from false doctrines taken as principles of thought. As to “nails” and” pegs,” which also signify conjoining mediums, see above, Chap. xxii. 23, Exposition.]
8 But thou, O Israel, My servant; thou, O Jacob, whom I have chosen; the seed of Abraham, My friend:
9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and have called thee from the sides thereof: and I said unto thee, Thou art My servant; I have chosen thee, and have not rejected thee:
Verse 8. The regeneration of man is here treated of, where “Israel” and “Jacob,” as in many other passages, are distinguished; and by ” Israel” is signified the spiritual internal church, and by “Jacob” the external of the same. Both are called “the seed of Abraham,” that is, of the celestial church, because the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural thus succeed each other. A. C. 1025. See also 3441.
Verses 8, 9. By “Israel,” in the supreme sense, is, understood the Lord as to the internal of the church, wherefore by “the seed of Israel” likewise is signified the divine Truth which is with those who are of the church signified by him; for by “Israel” is also understood the church with those who are interiorly natural, and in truths there from a spiritual origin, wherefore the church, which is spiritual-natural, is also thereby signified. A. E. 768.
10 Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I have strengthened thee, I have also helped thee; yea, I have supported thee with the right hand of My justice.
11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded; the men that contended with thee shall become as nothing, and shall perish.
12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even the men that strove with thee: they shall become as nothing, and as a thing of nought, even the men that warred against thee.
13 For I am Jehovah thy God, holding thy right hand; saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
Verses 10, 13. I have strengthened thee, I have also helped thee; yea, I have supported thee with the right hand of My justice, &c.-” I have strengthened thee, I have also helped thee,” signifies to give power and intelligence from Omnipotence and Omniscience, which is from Divine Good by Divine Truth; wherefore it is said–“I have supported thee with the right hand of My justice;” by the ” right hand” is signified Divine Truth, and by “justice?’ Divine Good. The power and wisdom thence derived to man, is denoted by “holding [or confirming] thy right hand.” Forasmuch as both, namely, Omnipotence and Omniscience, which appertain to the Lord from Divine Good by Divine Truth, are here understood, He is therefore called “Jehovah God;” for the Lord is called “Jehovah” from Divine Good, and “God” from Divine Truth, as may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 709, 732. A.E. 298.
14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob; ye mortals of Israel: I will help thee, saith Jehovah, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small and shalt make the hills as chaff.
16 Thou shalt winnow them, and thewind shall bear them away; and the tempest shall scatter them: but thou shalt rejoice in Jehovah; in the Holy One of Israel shalt thou glory.
Verse 14. I will help thee, saith Jehovah; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.-To “redeem” signifies, in a proper sense, to restore and to appropriate to one’s self what had been one’s own, and it is predicated of slavery, of death, and of evil; when of slavery, “those are understood who, having been made slaves, are, in the spiritual sense, delivered from hell; when of death, those who are in damnation are understood; and when of evil, those are understood who are in hell, for the evil from which the angel redeemed Jacob, (Gen. xlviii. 16.) is hell. (Whereas the Lord delivered man from these things by making the Human in Himself Divine, therefore it is His Divine Human which, in the Word, is called “Redeemer,” as in Isa, xli. 14; xlix. 7, 26; liv. 5. In these passages is distinguished the Divine Itself, which is called “Jehovah,” from the Divine Human, which is called “Redeemer” and the “Holy One of Israel.” A. C. 6281.
Verses 14-16. By “Jacob” is understood the external church as to Good and Truth, anel hence also external Good and Truth, which is Good and Truth from the sense of the letter of the Word, in which they are principled who belong to the external Church. The reason why these are compared to a “new sharp threshing instrument having teeth” is, because a “threshing instrument” separated the wheat, barley, and other grain from the ear, and by these are signifled the Goods and Truths of the church, as may be seen above, n. 374, 375. But here the oomparison is used to denote the bruising and breaking up of evils and falses: wherefore it is said “Thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff,” by which is signified the destruction of evils arising from the loves of self and of the world, and also of the falses thence derived. Hence it is also said-“Thou shalt winnow them and the wind shall bear them away, and the tempest shall scatter them,” by which is signified that they shall be as of no account; “wind” and “tempest” are both mentioned, because evils and falses are understood, for “wind” is predicated of truths, and, in an opposite sense, of falses, and “tempest” or “storm” of the evils of the false. A.E.405.
As to “storms” and “whirlwinds” at the time of Judgment see Chap, xvii. 13, Exposition.
17 The poor and the needy seek waters, and there are none; their tongue is parched with thirst: I Jehovah will hear them; the God of Israel, I will not forsake them.
Verses 17, 18. The subject here treated of is concerning the salvation of the Gentiles by the Lord who are called “poor and needy” from a defect and ignorance of Truth. Their desire of knowing Truths from those who are in the church, where there were not Truths, is described by “their seeking waters where there are none,” and “their tongue being parched or failing for thirst;” “water” denoting Truth, and “thirst” the desire thereof. That they shall be instructed by the Lord, is slgnified by “I will open in the high places rlvers, and in the midst of the valleys fountains,” to ‘” open rivers, denoting to give intelligence; “in the high places,” in the interior man; “In the midst of the valleys” denotes the exterior man; and to “make fountains,” to instruct in Truths. To “make the desert into a pool of waters, and the dry ground into springs of waters,” signifies abundance of Truth with those who before were in defect and ignorance thereof; the “desert” denotes where there is no Good because no Truth, and the “dry ground” where there is no Truth and thence no Good; the “pool of waters” and the “springs of waters” signify abundance of the knowledges of Truth. From these considerations it is evident that waters, fountains, springs, rivers, and pools of water are not here [literally] meant, but the knowledges of Truth and intelligence thence derived, whence comes salvation. A. E. 483,
To “open rivers in the high places” denotes to give interior intelligence; “fountains in the midst of the valleys” signifies to instruct the external man in Truths. A. E. 518.
18 I will open in the high places rivers, and in the midst of the valleys fountains: I will make the desert into a pool of waters, and the dry ground in to springs of waters,
Verses 18, 19. These words signify to give intelligence from spiritual Truth and from natural truths; “rivers in the high places” signifying intelligence from spiritual Truths, and “fountains in the midst of the valleys” intelligence from natural truths by “making the desert into a pool of wafers, and the dry ground into spring waters,” is signified to fill with truths the spiritual man and the natural man, where before there were not any truths: the spiritual Ulan, in whom before there was not any truth, is understood by a “desert,” and the natural man, into whom there was not before any spiritual influx, is understood by the “dry ground.” Truths in abundance, appertaining to the spiritual man, are understood by the “pool of waters” and truths in abundance, appertaining to the natural man, by “springs of waters.” By “giving in the desert the cedar of Shittah, the myrtle, and the oil-tree,” is signified to give rational truths and the perception thereof; and by “setting in the wilderness the fir, the pine, and the box,” are signified, in like manner, natural truths, which are scientifics and knowledges, with the understanding thereof. The “cedar” denotes rational truth of a superior order, the “myrtle” rational truth of an inferior order, and the “oil-tree” the perception of Good and thence of Truth; the “fir” denotes natural truth of a superior order, the “pine.” natural truth of an inferior order, and the” box” the understanding of Good and Truth in the natural principle. A.E. 730.
19 In the desert I will give the cedar of Shittah, the myrtle, and the oil-tree: I will set the fir-tree in the wilderness; the pine, and the box together:
Verse 19. These things are said concerning the establishment of the church by the Lord amongst the nations. By the “wilderness” and “desert” is signified where there was before no Good because no Truth; by “the cedar of Shittah, the myrtle, and the oil-tree, is signified spiritual and celestial Good; and by “the fir, the pine, and the box,” the Good and Truth thence derived in the natural principle; for every “tree” mentioned in the Word has a particular signification which relates to the Good and Truth of the church; and the “cedar of Shittah,” the “myrtle,” and the” oil-tree,” signify such things as are in the spiritual or internal man, and the “fir,” the “pine,” and the “box,” such as are in the natural or external man. A. E. 875.
The “wood and timber of Shittah” was the wood of the most excellent species of cedar, and by the “cedar” is signified the spiritual principle of the church. That the “wood of Shittim ” was a species of cedar, is evident from Isa. xli. 19, where the “cedar of Shittah” stands for spiritual Good, and the “oil-tree” for celestial Good. ” Shittim-wood” is the Good of Merit, which is of the Lord alone, and which is the only Good that reigns in heaven and which makes heaven; hence it was that that wood was the only wood which was ernployed in the construction of the Tabernacle, by which heaven was represented; and also of the Ark in which was the Testimony,- its bars or staves; also the Table upon which was the Shew-bread, and its bars or staves; likewise the boards of the Sanctuary, and the bars and columns of the Covering; in like manner the Altar, and its bars or staves, were all made of this wood, as may be seen from Exod. xxv. 10, 13, 23, 28; xxvi, 15, 26, 37. The Good of Merit is the Good proceeding from the Divine Human of the Lord, which is Christian Good, or spiritual Good with man; it is this Good by which man is saved, for the good which is from any other source is not good, because the Divine is not in it, thus heaven is not in it; and consequently there is no salvation in it. A.C. 9172.
20 That they may see, and may know, and may consider, and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah hath done this, and that the Holy One of Israel bath created it.
Verse 20. The subject here treated of is concerning the establishment of the church amongst the nations. “Desert” signifies their not being in Good, because in ignorance of Truth; for all Good into which man is reformed is given only by Truths. “That they may see, and may know, and may consider, and understand together,” signifies knowledges, understanding, perception, and affection, which are of the love of Good and Truth. From such significations it is evident that by “the Holy One of Israel creating this” is signified reformation, consequently that to “create” is to reform. A. E. 294. See also T. C. R. 573.
The Holy One of Israel hath created it.-As to “creating” and the end for which the Universe has been “created,” see Chap. xliii. 1,7. Exposition.
21 Produce your cause, saith Jehovah: bring forth your strong [reasons], saith the King of Jacob.
Verse 21 That the Lord invites man to “reason” with Him, in order that his rational mind and his reflective faculties may be directed to spiritual things, see Chap. i. 18, Exposition.
As to the negative employment of our “reason,” when exercising it from the fallacies of our sensual mind and from negative principles against the Word, which is the origin of all infidelity, and as to the affirmative or right use of our “rational faculties,” when reasoning respecting the Divine Word and its Truths, see above, Chap. xxxvi. 1, Exposition.
22 Let them bring them forth, and tell us what shall happen: I let them shew the former things, what they are; and we will lay them to heart, and we shall know the event thereof: or declare to us things to come hereafter.
23 Shew us the signs of what will be the future, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil; that we may be dismayed, and behold. it together.
Verses 22, 23. That to speak of things future is of the Lord alone, and not of any man or of any spirit, is expressed by “Shew us the signs of the future that we may know that ye are gods.” This is the conclusion of those thIngs which precede, wherefore to “shew a sign” is to testify bv persuasion that what is saId may be believed. A. E. 706.
As to the further meaning of a “sign,” see Chap. xlv. 11, 13.; see also above, Chap. viii. 18, Exposition.
24 But, behold, ye are less than nothing; and your work is less than nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you!
Verse 24. Ye are less than nothing;-an abomination is he that chooseth you.-[These words imply that whatsoever in the church does not exist from faith in the Lord, and from the Truths of the Word, is of no use whatever to the salvation of man.]
25 I will raise up one from the north, and he shall come; from the rising of the sun shall he call upon My name: and he shall trample on princes as upon mire, even as the potter treadeth down the clay.
Verse 25. The reason why “from the rising of the sun unto the setting thereof” signifies all from first to last who are in the Good of love to the Lord, is because all who are in heaven have their habitations according to the quarters; and they who are in the Good of love to the Lord dwell from the east to the west,-in th e east those who are in the clear Good of love, and in the west those who are in the obscure Good of love; hence by “from the rising of the sun to the setting” are signified all who are in that Good from first to last. Its being said in Isaiah-” I will raise up one from the north, and he shall come; from the rising of the sun,” &c., signifies those who are without the church, and those who are within it; for by the “north” is signified where Truth is in obscurity, and thus those who are without the church, because they are in an obscure principle as to Truths, by reason that they have not the Word, and hence do not know anything concerning the Lord; and by “the rising of the sun” are signified those who are within the church, because they have the Word, in which the Lord is always present, and so in His rising. That by “the east, or rising of the sun,” and by “the west, or setting of the sun,” are understood the Good of love in clearness, and the Good of love in obscurity, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 141, 148; and that by the “north” is signified Truth in obscurity, may be seen in the same chapter, the quarters in the spiritual world beihg there treated of. By “the setting of the sun” is also signified the state of the church when it is in ignorance, which is its first state; and by “the rising of the sun” is signified its state when it is in light.” By “the setting of the sun,” is also signified the state of the church when it is in evils and falses thence derived; and by “the rising of the sun,” when it is in Goods and Truths thence derived. A. E. 401.
As to the “Sun” of the spiritual world, see Chap. xxx, 26, Exposition.
He shall trample on princes as upon mire, &c.- That “princes” in a good sense signify primary Truths, but in an opposite sense primary falses, see Chap. i. 23; x. 7,8, Exposition. As to “mire” and “mud,” see Chap. v. 25, Exposition.
26 Who hath declared this from the beginning, that we, should know it? and beforehand that we might say, It is just? There was not one that shewed it; not one that declared it. there was not one that heard your words.
27 [I] first [said] to Zion, Behold, behold them! and I gave to Jerusalem the messenger of good tidings.
Verses 26, 27. [It does not appear that Swedenborg has quoted these verses, but they evidently imply that the Lord, by His Word, is the only Source of all Truth and Goodness to His church and to the human minnd, and that “idols” and “graven images, as denoting false doctrines, the traditions of men, and the figments of self-derived intelligence, are “less, or worse than nothing.”]
28 But I looked, and there was no man; and from among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I inquired of them, could return a word.
Verse 28. In the Word, and especially in the Prophets, the term “man” [vir] is often named, namely, “man and wife,” “man and woman,” “man and inhabitant,” and also “man [vir] and man [homo];” and by “man” [vir, ish], in the internal sense, is signified that which is of the understanding, which is Truth; and by “wife,” “woman,” “inhabitant,” and “man” [homo, adam], that which is of the will, which is Good, as in Isaiah:-” I looked, and there was no man [vir], and no counsellor,” &c. (xli. 28.) Again-“I came, and there was no man,” &c. (Isa. 1. 2.) See also Isa. lix. 14-16; Jer. v. 1; Zeph. iii. 6. A. C. 3134.
29 Behold, they are all iniquity; their works are nothing: wind and emptiness are their molten images.
Verse 29. “Wind and emptiness” denote the falses of evil and the evils of the false; “wind” the falses of evil, and “emptiness” the evils of the false; for where there is emptiness and vacuity, that is, where there is no Good and no Truth, there is evil and the false. That falses are here signified by “wind,” is evident from its being said-“They are all iniquity; their works are nothing;” likewise by its being said-“Wind and emptiness are their molten images;” for by “molten images ” are signified the things which man hatches from self derived intelligence, all which are evils and falses. A.E.419.
As to “molten and graven images” and “idols,” see Chap. ii. 20; xl. 18-20, Exposition.
Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]